I don't think forgiveness of the parents is necessary. I don't mean to say you have to hold onto the anger either. There is a problem, now. However you got to where you are now, you are here. Self-affirming talk IS critical.
The woman therapist listened to what happened empathically. She doesn't cast blame, but she does acknowledge that what happened back then affects me now. She knows it goes beyond a simple attachment disorder (I have that too) and into the PTSD.
Whatever problems my mom had dissolved when my grandfather died and she inherited his money. I do not think my mother had PTSD. I think she had a case of narcissism and megalomania. It was always about money/power/control.
So...should we forgive BP for the oil spill? And Hitler for the Holocaust (supposedly he was beaten as a child too - just read For Their Own Good by Alice Miller), Bernard Madoff for his investment scheme? I don't think I have to forgive them either for what they'd done. I don't actively hold hatred in my heart for them. But I can still hold them "responsible" for a great deal of grave damage to humanity and the earth.
I don't think I have to forgive my mother for what she did to me. I can detach from what she did to me so that it doesn't hurt, and I can learn all I can about what constitutes good, healthy mothering, and get help for myself so I don't get so angry.
Mittens Kittens - how do you stop yourself from taking it out on your child?
When you wake up in the morning tell yourself this: "I have a choice how I respond to my anger. I am stronger than I think I am. I always have a choice". My guess is that you believe you don't have any choice but to respond the way you always do.
Being aggressive is about feeling powerless. I think you would agree. We go on the defensive when we are feeling vulnerable and weak. Animals attack when they are hurting. So, we need to empower you to feel strong.
I don't know for anyone else, but giving up my career (willingly) for my children had the inadvertent effect of closing off contact with most other adults, removing a major source of stimulation, and made me feel trapped. So I'm not just dealing with family of origin issues, but a whole shift in my experience. It was very unsettling. That's complicated things too. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one for whom life had changed drastically once they became mothers or they quit their jobs to stay at home with their children.
If you can at all swing it, try to get some therapy. Look for client-centered therapy (versus CBT therapy - I found out yesterday the difference between the two therapists) and if possible someone specializing in trauma therapy using EMDR.
Client- (or person-) centered therapy is more empathic, more understanding, uses more active listening and promotes attachment.
For now, you can read through this:http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/
I like it because it seems very much like a "how-to" do mindfulness (aka awareness). How to change habitual rapid (and negative) responses. It also seems very straightforward and detailed. I think it's pretty amazing myself. If you can get it printed out, and put in a binder, where you can read it when you feel stress coming on, it would help.
It is about noticing your anger and irritation when it is small and manageable. NOT when it's gotten bigger than you are. Most times we ignore the signs of irritation and we let it get bigger than we are.
When you are at your worst, you can say to yourself.
"I know you are suffering...I am here for you".
Mindfulness is a re-training of our minds and NOT ignoring what our body is telling us.
I like the above link because there is a section where it cautions about trying mindfulness before you are ready will tend to make things worse or create new problems. There are additional resources there for survivors of trauma.
For anyone interested, there's a summary here of Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery
- though I will say that in the 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery, reconstructing what happened is NOT necessary and can actually be unsafe.
I know if I don't get enough REGULAR sleep (and I get insomnia from time to time and go to bed anytime between 10 and 1:30), don't get enough to eat, or I am running late to do anything, I will be challenged. Doesn't matter by what. I will find my temper flaring.
When I was running late the day of my first individual therapy session, I was stuck behind a gas tanker on a two lane road with my kids when I was trying to drop them off to the babysitter, I was yelling obscenities, getting angrier by the second and hitting my hand on my steering wheel HARD. Well...I broke on of the buttons on the steering wheel AND I hurt my hand (not very smart on both counts). AND my kids had to witness my flip-out session. Since then, I've had a few therapy sessions, the EMDR, AND I made sure I've been eating and planning my time better so as not to be late.
My middle daughter would have awful temper tantrums and meltdowns. She is also the one MOST like me (highly gifted, highly emotional, low tolerance for frustration) and the one who'd trigger me the most. Unlike me though, she had selective mutism which is a social anxiety disorder. We had a LOT of challenges with that. She started improving when I got her SM resolved - through sensory therapy, through early intervention preschool, and changing my lens from one of detachment to one of attachment. She always acts better the more hugs and time I spend focused on her. After two years from diagnosis to now, the SM has fully resolved. But she still whines and falls apart and gets irritated from time to time - only they are 5 minutes, not 20 minutes like they used to be.
She is much better when she is well rested and has protein to eat. Part of her temper flares due to reactive hypoglycemia - she just burns through her energy stores and has a drop in blood sugar.
Think about your own diet - if it's high in sugar and low in complex carbs and protein, or high in caffeine, you might be setting yourself up for a tough time.
Sometimes I'd get so stuck in negativity that I'd forget to eat. Sometimes I wouldn't like what we had to eat so I wouldn't eat (which incidentally my daughter says the same thing from time to time).
Other things I can think of...what to you do to relax? Try sensory calming activities - your favorite music, going swimming, get you and the kids OUTSIDE in NATURE, take a 20 minute power nap, go for a walk (with/without the kids). Since I have 3 daughters, I find that I enjoy going on mommy and me dates with them individually once a month - focusing on them and remembering what it is about them that makes them unique. I'd gotten away from that for a while. It helps THEIR behavior to have mommy's undivided attention. It helps remind me of their charming qualities, which seem to be lacking when they are all together.
Einstein is credited with the phrase, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results".
So, you know that what you are doing now doesn't work and feeds into your negativity. So it's time to try other things. And take care of you and your needs.